Becoming a nurse is a noble endeavor. You help patients with their daily activities, administer medicines, and communicate with doctors. You handle the wellbeing of people who need your help because they can’t function by themselves.
Nurses are trusted by everyone, and Americans have been considering them as the most trustworthy professionals for 19 years in a row, more honest than doctors and pharmacists.
The first step to becoming a nurse is to enter nursing school and get your certification. But you might not have an outstanding GPA, or maybe your references are weak.
Whatever the case, you shouldn’t worry too much. What matters in nursing is caring about others and working hard. Anything else is extra. The United States have a strong need for nurses.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about joining nursing school.
How do you become a nurse without jumping through infinite hoops ? Do you want to become a nurse, but you aren’t a model student?
Keep reading the article to find out the easiest nursing schools to get into.
Nursing School Prerequisites
Each school has its specific requisites, but most schools share many of them. Regardless, even if they aren’t necessary, satisfying them will improve your application and make it stand out among all the others without these requisites.
Here’s how to get a solid foundation for your nursing school application.
1. Get a solid background in biological sciences
While you don’t need a specific high-school diploma to apply for nursing school, but you must prove you’ve completed certain prerequisite courses for your application to be accepted.
These courses vary from school to school, but most will be in biological sciences. You can expect courses like Anatomy, Microbiology, and Physiology to be required in most schools. Other courses that may be needed include Psychology, Chemistry, Sociology, and Algebra.
You should try to complete as many of these courses as you can, even if the school doesn’t specify it needs them. The reason is that they will make it easier for you to progress through the program, because they will invariably offer insight on what you’re studying.
2. Increase your GPA
This is another important step towards getting your application accepted. A high GPA will help you stand out among the other applicants. Many schools set 2.5 as the minimum GPA required for applying, but naturally, the higher the better. Getting into an elite school will require you to have a GPA of 3.8 or higher, but that’s a different story.
You might read stories on the Internet about students getting accepted with lower GPA scores, but please know that these are exceptional cases, and that a lacking GPA means that your application has to be outstanding in the other areas.
3. Have a clean criminal record
Look, I wish I didn’t have to write this, but do not, under any circumstance, expect to become a nurse if your criminal record isn’t crystal clear.
Most schools will list this into their requisites, but even if they don’t, know that you cannot become a nurse if you have been convicted, pled guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or other criminal offence (excluding minor offenses like speeding tickets).
Schools (and hospitals) WILL run federal and supplemental background checks to make sure you have a clean criminal record.
Don’t do drugs. Universities will test you for drugs and if they see you are a drug user you can say goodbye to nursing school.
4. Pre-nursing care experience
Even if most schools in the list I’m providing you won’t require any experience at all, having first-hand experience is always a big plus when you apply.
Imagine two applicants with the same exact GPA, background, and courses, but one of them had no experience whatsoever in the nursing field, while the other clocked 100 hours in a nursing home. Which application will be favored?
There are three main ways to get pre-nursing care experience:
- Shadowing a nurse
Shadowing means following a nurse around during their daily activities, which will paint a clearer picture of what a nurse actually does.
Another advantage of shadowing is that it shows you how nursing might be once you graduated. It will help you understand whether it’s the right profession for you.
- Volunteer work
Volunteering in pediatric clinics or nonprofit organizations is another great way of building up your application. There are volunteer programs scattered around the country.
- Paid work
There are jobs in the nursing field that don’t have huge barriers to entry. For example, you can become a certified nurse assistant after a 6-months training.
An enormous advantage of following this line of work is that you get invaluable experience and earn some cash you can then reinvest into your degree program.
5. Strong communication skills
Your English proficiency will come into play during your application. Not only you want to distinguish yourself from other applicants through your writing, but every faculty has among its requirements courses on English writing, public speaking, and communication skills.
Other important courses that you should complete include critical thinking and introduction to sociology.
Strong communication skills are essential even if the school you plan to join doesn’t require them. Your job as a nurse includes communicating with patients and doctors, so you need to be a great communicator.
- A NursingCAS application
is a centralized system that allows students to apply to multiple nursing schools with a single application. This system allows you to save plenty of time, since you will only have to prepare one application and send it to many schools instead of having to create multiple applications.
Not all schools accept NursingCAS as of now, but it’s becoming more and more popular with each year, so I strongly suggest you to look into it.
What Makes It Easier To Get Into A Nursing School Compared To Another?
Generally speaking, the lower the prerequisites, the easier it is to get into a nursing s chool. However there is also another important factor to consider: the number of applicants compared to the number of open seats.
For example, if 30.000 people apply for 1.500 seats, it’ll be harder to get in than if 20.000 people applied for 1.500 seats. This is hard to calculate, but you can make an educated guess by checking each school’s acceptance rates.
Apply to schools with the highest acceptance rates, and you will drastically improve your chances of success.
You want a combination of high acceptance rates and low requirements. You can also look for numbers of application and try to get into schools with a low number of applicants, or with a high number of open seats.
But these aren’t the only things you should consider when applying to school. Since it’ll take 3 or 4 years to earn your degree, you need to consider if the university’s area appeals to you. Do you want to take part in a living nightlife? Do you prefer quiet areas? What about your passions? Does the location align with your interests?
School is important, but so is your life. If you don’t enjoy yourself in your new environment then how do you expect to do well at school?
The Easiest Nursing Schools To Get Into
I considered multiple factors when making this list:
- Prerequisite courses
- GPA requirements
- GRE requirements (when applicable)
- Letters of recommendation required
- Number of pre-veterinarian hours required
- Acceptance rate (when published)
Let’s dive right into the list!
South Dakota State University has been educating nurses at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels for over 80 years. The faculty offers 160 open seats, and 184 applied for these seats in spring 2021, as you can see on this page. The university’s acceptance rate is above 90%.
Requirements are also quite low to get into, although you can see from the statistics’ page that admitted students are way above the requirements, at least GPA wise. But what are the minimum requirements to apply? Here they are:
- A cumulative GPA of 2.7
- A pre-nursing GPA of 2.7
- Completion of the following courses with a grade of at least C:
- Chemistry Survey and lab
- Introduction to Sociology or Social Problems or Sociology of Rural America
- General Psychology
- Human Nutrition
- Organic & Biochemistry with lab
- Lifespan Development
- Anatomy with lab
- Physiology with lab
That’s it. You don’t need letters of recommendation or pre-nursing experience. Having them makes the committee more likely to accept your application, so I suggest clocking in at least 50 hours of pre-nursing experience. I told you how to get some experience in the prerequisites section.
2. Cox College
Cox college offers a bachelor of science in nursing with extremely low requirements. The acceptance rate isn’t as high as others in this list, but realistically with such low requirements you have very good chances of getting in if you put in a modicum of effort above the minimum required.
The biggest roadblock to applying to this school is the somewhat high number of required courses prior to admission, but most of these will be part of your study path if you’re making good choices in school.
Here’s a list of requirements:
- Official high school transcript or GED certificate
- High school cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
- Minimum composite ACT score of 18 or higher or an SAT combined score of at least 860
- Completion of the following courses prior to program entry:
- Human Anatomy*
- Human Physiology*
- Fundamentals of Chemistry*
- Introduction to Psychology*
- Life Span Development*
Again, there’s no need for pre-nursing experience or letters of recommendation. As usual though, I’m suggesting that you complete at least 50 hours of pre-nursing experience before applying. It will strengthen your application and also give you insight on how’s work life for a nurse.
Illinois State University is another faculty with low requirements and a high acceptance rate. To be exact, the acceptance rate is about 89%.
In fact, the requirements are so low that I’m not even going to make a list of them. There isn’t a minimum GPA score requirement, or a minimum SAT or ACT score requirement either. You want them to be as high as possible, but even if they are low, you have a shot at getting in.
That’s wonderful news for those who struggled in high school. I know because I was one of them.
You don’t even need to complete any course before applying. That’s how easy it is to get in. The only reason this isn’t higher is its lower acceptance rate, which is mostly a byproduct of having few open spots compared to the number of applications.
Regis university has a high acceptance rate of 71% and average requirements. It could be higher on this list, but since it’s a Catholic private institute, I figured I’d include it as a lower-tier option, because not everyone feels comfortable with religion, so I understand if you want to skip this one.
The high acceptance rate and the fair requirements make it easy to get into the faculty. Here are the requirements:
- No minimum GPA or SAT scores, they do matter though, so don’t expect to get in with laughable scores
- Proven experience in pre-nursing work, the site doesn’t specify how many hours though
- Two letters of recommendation
- Completion of the following courses with at least a C grade
- Human Anatomy with lab
- Human Physiology with lab
- Microbiology with lab
- Chemistry with lab
- General Psychology
- Developmental or Child Psychology
- Health Care Ethics
- Religious Studies
- Introduction to the Profession of Nursing
This is the first time I mention letters of recommendation and pre-nursing experience in the requisites, but these are fair requirements after all. In the university’s introduction, the institute is religious, and you have to take a course on religious studies, plus accept the fact that Christian symbolism will surround you.
This isn’t a university for everyone, that’s for sure, but it’s still easy enough to make it worth mentioning on this list.
Drexel university offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and like the other universities in this list, has low requirements and a decent acceptance rate of 76.9%.
Wonder what are the requirements? Easy, there is only one requirement to apply to Drexel university:
- Completed the following prerequisite courses with at least a C grade:
- General Chemistry with lab
- General Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Anatomy with lab
- Physiology with lab
- Human Nutrition
- Microbiology with lab
That’s it. These courses + the ones I outlined in the general prerequisites sections are all you need to apply to this nursing program. Naturally, work experience and letters of recommendation are always welcome, and you can drastically improve your chances of admission by proving you work hard and put effort into your career path.
These are the easiest nursing schools to get into. As you can see, they have extremely low requirement and high acceptance rates. Getting accepted into one of these should be easy, provided you create a strong application and have all the right prerequisites.
I’m warning you though: even if getting in is easy, earning your certificate is not. Nursing school is hard, your job is delicate and important, and there’s no place for lazy students.
That said, I admire your choice of becoming a nurse: it is a wonderful profession. Caring about others isn’t easy, and requires a lot of passion and patience. Good luck in your endeavors.
What are you waiting for? Apply to nursing school today, and get a strong head start into your health career.